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The Boston Globe

Nation

Hagel will lead Defense Dept. as Senate OK’s pick

Contentious process ended in close vote

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense Tuesday after a bruising bout with Republicans, while President Obama’s nominee to be Treasury secretary moved closer to approval with bipartisan support. The votes suggested that the Republican blockade against the administration’s second-term nominees was beginning to ease.

After escaping a filibuster from members of his own party, Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, prevailed in a 58 to 41 vote — the smallest margin for a defense secretary since the position was created in 1947, according to Senate records. Fifty-two Democrats, two independents, and four Republicans backed Hagel, and 41 Republicans opposed him.

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